Hello folks, another week has gone by with storms lashing the UK and high winds of over 60mph. We had a bit of damage in our garden - a couple of large pots blew over and smashed to smithereens - I cannot imagine how that could have happened as one of them was planted with a large rhododendron bush and was weighed down with broken bricks and tiles at the bottom. That was one wild and wooly night! The trees were bent over double and the cat decided to cause a disturbance indoors by bringing in a live mouse at 2am - the mouse ran off (not quite up a clock as under a bed), so now we have the pleasure of sharing our accomodation with a mouse. It's a good thing I'm not squeamish, but still, I'm not sure how I'll react if the mouse runs out in front of me.
As you might have read last week, it was Mike's birthday last week, and we celebrated in London. His birthday presents had been ordered in December, but only turned up a week after his birthday, which was a shame. However, he loves them, so that made up for the disappointment on the day. I wrote in 2013, and it seems like yesterday, of a kitsch collection of animal figurines called Tom's Drag. We saw them on a trip to Berlin and we loved them so much I made a point of taking a picture of the logo by the side of the figurines so I could find them again.
Unfortunately Tom died in 2012, but his partner Arno Mueller still runs the company using Toms designs, and we are now the proud owners of three little cats, only two of which have arrived from Germany, the third to arrive in March.
I made a necklace of little citrine teardrops with iolite beads between them The citrine beads are gently faceted and appear like crystals made of unrefined sugar. I posted a picture on instagram and the necklace was picked up even before I gave it a name or had good pictures of it on file. I had to rush to get some photographs before I posted it out to its forever home with a little pair of earrings to match.
Hematite is the mineral form of iron oxide and has a striking metallic lustre, similar to polished gunmetal. The word hematite comes from the Greek work "haima" meaning blood, referring to the mineral's red color when in powdered form. When heated enough, hematite becomes a paramagnet, where the atomic magnets just randomly point all different directions, making it weakly magnetic. Hematite helps to absorb negative energy in times of stress or worry. I've had these beads for a while now, as well as the amethyst druzy pendant and suddenly they appeared in the same drawer of my bead stash and demanded to be put together. Whether this was by magic or serendipity, I shall never know, but I think they look good together. Purple and black can look a bit gothic, but not in this case as the amethyst pendant is a pale lilac. The colours in amethyst are also from iron ore so the two seem made for each other. The word Confluence means two streams meeting to become the source of a river of a new name, as did the iron ore in the two materials of this necklace.
That's me for this week folks. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you faring now that the craziness of Christmas and New Year's Eve is over? Clear heads all around, I hope! Our celebrations tend to go on for a little while longer than the 1st of January as hubby has a birthday in the second week and I am only just getting over the feeling of being constantly exhausted from organising food and drinks, and tickets, and events. Phew!!!
This birthday I treated Mike to a London theatre break - we went to see An American in Paris which suited both of us - we love jazz and Gershwin and I love the ballet - this show had both of these combined in a stupendous extravaganza. He was also treated to an evening at Ronnie Scott's in Soho where we had another fix of jazz. Shopping at Selfridges followed, where I found two pairs of boots in the sales the next day after a full English breakfast, and we were finally ready to get the train back to Warwickshire. We stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel and I can't say much more than it was fantastic - we felt totally pampered.
We took some time out to visit Grenfell tower and the little shrine in front of the church. Three sad little fir trees stood outside the church, decorated with a wooden heart for each child that died in the fire. We met the vicar and put some money into the collection.
We'd seen Grenfell on the TV a number of times, but nothing prepared us for the eerie silence in the streets around it, as if it was a ghost town.
A number of windows carried 'Justice for Grenfell' banners and our hearts went out to the people who died or were bereaved there.
I bought a couple of strings of quartz teardrops from a vendor in Germany - one string is clear and the other a pale blue. The beads are gently faceted and shine in reflected light. They remind me of fat little raindrops on a wire or dripping from a blade of grass. I've had them a while and hadn't come up with any ideas, until it all seemed to fall into place this week.
I used tiny 2mm seed pearls to separate the quartz droplets - it amazes me how expensive these tiny pearls are relative to their size, but then, if you think about how difficult it must be to handle them and drill them, it seems understandable. Stringing them is difficult enough, it makes me shudder to think how hard it must be to make the central hole without crushing them.
It is indeed a very pretty necklace - and is winging its way to its forever home, as I type.
Thank you to all those who participated in the various promotions I set up for Caprilicious' birthday week. The earrings in the giveaway were won by Robyn Gilchrist from Shreveport, USA - can you contact me please with your full address so that I can mail them out.
There is a second pair of similar earrings left on the website on the Mixed Metals page, and the 10% discount promotion runs till the 15th of January. Do visit the shop to use the code if you fancy them or anything else.
That's all I have time for folks - have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Happy Birthday to yoo-ho-hoo, Happy Birthday to yoooo.....dear Caprilicious, Happy Birthday tooooo yooooo!
Better late than never, eh, readers? Caprilicious had a birthday in November and I was so busy with the day job, I quite forgot to celebrate.
Hello folks, how nice to see you again, and thank you for joining me. Storm Eleanor has wreaked havoc with my plans this week, we had gusts of wind upto 80 mph and it was cold and rainy, so although I had the week off neither of us felt like leaving the house so we spent time staying warm, with long lie -ins, cooking hearty stews in the slow cooker and staying up late watching movies into the wee hours.
So, let's celebrate Caprilicious' fifth birthday belatedly - I have a little give away for you - a pair of earrings from my Mixed Metals page. The earrings are textured, forged and antiqued rectangular copper panels, 2.6" long and very light, with a little turquoise bead dangling from them. Their ear wires are sterling silver and have been forged into rectangular shapes to suit the contemporary look of the earrings.
To enter the giveaway, please click the Network Blogs 'Follow The Caprilicious Jewellery Blog' link to the right of the blog title. For a second chance to win, share the blog from the Caprilicious Jewellery Facebook Page to yours. I will announce the winner in next Friday's blog post.
Storm Eleanor forced us indoors, so I played in my craft room for a couple of hours each day over the week.
I have long had a fascination with mythology - I spent long days at my grandmother's knee listening to tales about Gods and Goddesses, of whom there are many in India. As I grew older I read Greek and Roman mythology from books my grandfather bought me and ended up reading African and Afro Caribbean stories about Orishas and other spirits. An Orisha is a spirit who reflects one of the manifestations of the supreme divinity in the Yoruba religion. Orisha are said to have existed in the spiritual world, or lived as human beings in the planetary world. Others are said to be humans who are recognized as deities due to extraordinary feats. It is amazing how tales in various cultures repeat themselves, and there are loads of similarities between Indian and African stories.
This is my fourth iteration of Oshun, and each one has been different from the others. I make one of these necklaces a year as they take a while to find their forever home. They are looking for fearless, fun loving women who like to wear in-your-face jewellery that grabs attention instantly, and such ladies are not easy to find - yet, but I live in hope that they will beat a path to my door someday soon. My friend Bernadette gave me the first two Oshun pendants made from a dark wood, and I made the other two from polymer clay.
This necklace has multicolour lentil swirl beads that I made with a liberal sprinkling of gold foil and the beads look mysteriously 'cosmic', as if strewn with stardust.
When I made Oshun, I remained in what my husband calls the 'mumbo jumbo zone' and I also made a smaller pendant and coloured it with pale blue chalk, and put it in pale blue flowing headgear - I started off trying to make a fierce Tuareg warrior like face with tribal markings on its face, but by the time it was done and cured in the oven, I knew it was a sweet and gentle Orisha, no self respecting Tuareg would want to be associated with it!
I went looking for a name for her and as I sifted through the Orishas, her name had to be Yemoja - the name seemed to fit her like a glove. Yemoja is a major water deity from the Yoruba religion. She is the mother of all Orishas, having given birth to the 14 Yoruba gods and goddesses. Yemoja is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. She does not easily lose her temper, but when angered she can be quite destructive and violent.
Am I a believer? - well, that is an easy and resounding 'absolutely not'. However, I am enough of a romantic to enjoy stories of when Gods and Goddesses roamed the earth and walked amongst men, but that is what they are, just stories!
This one was completely at odds with the other two pieces - a little Bali silver dragonfly with a moonstone, aquamarine and amethyst in its body, on a necklace of flashy labradorite and pearls. I posted it on my social media sites and it was snapped up the very next day - as I type, it is winging its way to the lovely lady who fell in love with it and has given it a forever home.
I hope you all had a fabulous New Year's Eve celebration. Mine consisted of watching Jools Holland's Hootenanny on the telly and drinking non alcoholic champagne at midnight as I was on call - it could have been worse, I could have been called out, so I should be thankful for small mercies. We have a bit of a blowout planned in London shortly as Mike has a birthday coming up, so that will have to be a deferred welcome to the New Year.
Have a good week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are getting over the effects of all the overindulgences of the season. I'm terrified to get on the scales as I've done my share of overeating, and will wait till a couple of weeks have gone by before I check the damage that the ingestion of more calories than I do for the rest of the year has caused. I'm just praying my body went into shock and refused to accept any of those rogue calories, but sadly, we all know it doesn't work like that.
It will soon be 2018 - where did 2017 vanish??? - it seemed to fly by in a flash. Caprilicious quietly turned 5 in November, I usually mark the event with a giveaway but didn't have the time this year, so will be organising something in early January. I will announce it on the blog, so keep your eyes peeled for it.
This was our house on Christmas day - we had a guest to lunch and once we had eaten, I went off to the nearby church as promised, to help with their Christmas lunch for the homeless of the borough. I quite enjoyed it, there was a tremendous camaraderie and lots of laughter. There are various reasons why people become homeless and it was sad to see so many in the UK, which is allegedly the 5th richest nation in the world. When I got back, both my men were fast asleep and I joined them for a post prandial nap before sitting down to the rubbish that the TV programmers seem to think we'd be keen to watch on the box at Christmas.
I had loads of time to relax over the holidays, and on one of those days, decided to make some polymer clay buttons for a friend. She has made herself a black tunic and wanted seven fairly large black buttons to sew onto it. I made reversible buttons - one side has a mica shift self pattern, and the other was covered with a veneer of crackled silver foil on a black background. I figured that as the instructions were so vague, I'd give her the choice of two ways to use them.
I made the first side, sanded and polished it, before I put crackled silver veneer on the back, and it was so hypnotic, sanding away in a circular movement with a bowl of soapy water in my lap - I was in danger of falling asleep.
Santa brought me a lovely Butler and Wilson brooch - I love shiny stuff, and it suited the dress I was wearing, so it went on immediately.
Some faux amber beads I'd made earlier had been calling for attention for ages - I couldn't bear their piteous cries for help any more and decided to set them free. I made a simple but effective necklace - I have no name for it yet, but I'm sure one will occur to me fairly soon. I wore it to work the next day.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse and I'm working all weekend. I just hope it stays quiet for me.
That's all I had time for this week folks. Have a good week and I'll catch you in the New Year, same time, same place.
Until then, Happy New Year to all of you
Hello amazing readers, we've made it to the end of 2018 and it's the most wonderful time of the year - allegedly! This applies to those who are warm and well fed, sheltered and with their friends and family. However, the plight of the homeless has been raised over and over again this year, more than any December I've ever known and I've decided to help out in the local soup kitchen on Christmas Day once I've served our meal. I've never done this before and am a bit anxious about it as I don't know what to expect. We have friends to eat with us, and then I will go out and help the efforts of the good people in the nearby church.
I've had a bit of a rest from beads although my fingers have been itching to make up the ideas that have been jumping into my head. I gave my juniors doctors the suncatchers I made earlier and they all said they loved their gifts.
My fingers were aching with withdrawal symptoms so I eventually gave in and made a wire butterfly suncatcher for one of the ladies at work.
Have a wonderful Christmas folks. This is the very first year I've had both Christmas and Boxing Day off in ages - however, as penance I'm having to work all of the New Year's Eve weekend. I'll leave you with this clip from a Christmas special from Mrs Brown's Boys - and for those of you who haven't seen this show before, the main protagonist is a man in a dress, just in case these things have to be spelled out to you. I find this show quite funny, and Michael despairs of my sense of humour - ah, well, I do have some faults, one can't always be perfect (she says, shining her halo!).
Take care folks, and have a lovely day. I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello folks, how are you on this cold and frosty morning? It snowed for twenty four hours here in the UK, and the country came to a standstill. Roads were closed, airports and train tracks were backlogged with travel chaos and schools shut down leaving parents in the lurch, looking for emergency childcare. At the hospital, half the staff and patients didn't manage to make their way in. The snow fell over the weekend, but the temperatures have been so low that we still have snow drifts five days on, although a lot of it has melted. I am more anxious about the ice that forms on the roads and pavements when the thawing snow freezes over at night - you can imagine that it is hazardous to drive, and walk.
However, it looks pretty when the snow is pristine, and I busied myself over the weekend taking loads of pictures.
We knew that snow was on it's way, so I quickly put my Christmas tree up and decorated it - the tree is usually set up in the porch, which can get pretty cold when the temperature falls severely as it relies on the light of the sun to keep it warm. As you can imagine, it is pretty warm in the porch most of the year as our geraniums do well overwintering there, as do the ferns - all that green stuff you see in the picture is real. I love the silver baubles I got from the Christmas shop, which predictably is open all year around to serve the tourist trade in Prague, when we went there about ten years ago. I wrap each one in tissue paper and put it away almost reverently when we are done with the season and this strategy has served me well as they have lasted out over ten Christmases.
Four days down the line, our street is still covered with snow and ice and I'm being driven into work as my little car is totally unsuitable for this weather. It still looks pretty, doesn't it, in spite of the tyre treads that have messed the road up. They should make it illegal for people to muss up the snow and make it less picturesque.
It looked like a complete white out in front of our house, and the back garden was no better. So there wasn't much else to do but stay warm, and play with beads and post on Instagram, where I've been testing out hashtags and trying to improve my visibility.
I bought a bunch of tiny crystal beads a while ago, at the same time as the floral micro pave clasp. One of my customers liked the look of the crystals so much, she asked me to make a necklace up for her using the floral clasp. The beads are tiny, no more than 3mm in diameter and they resemble little sugar crystals that have been artificially coloured. I made an ombre necklace which she loved and I posted it out to her well before the last day for Christmas post approached - the last day for the post, in case you don't remember it is the 20th of December after which you'll have to go out in the cold and do your own shopping. I didn't get a chance to take a picture on a model, all I have are a quick couple of photographs shot using my phone, so many apologies for picture quality. Perhaps the lady will send us pictures wearing the necklace, and I can share them with you later on.
That's all I made this week folks, these beads were so tiny that I almost went blind trying to string them. They were pretty badly behaved as well and kept jumping out of my hands and scattering all over the floor making the cat leap out of his skin everytime he heard the skittering of a bead across the parquet floor. As they were pretty expensive, I made sure I picked the beads up and put them into the necklace - not a single one escaped its fate!
That's me for this week, folks. I am going to be wrapping presents and writing cards out this weekend. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you? We've had a very cold week here and even a bit of snow, although not a lot. The thermal underwear was out in earnest and the Michelin woman look was de rigeur - someone even called me Nanouk of the North, they way I'd bundled up to walk a few yards from one building to the next at work, and it hasn't even got cold in earnest yet!
As you know, last week the IDEAS team held their Christmas show and I was there on Friday with Caprilicious. The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, has what they euphemistically call a 'Market Hall' - a large, underheated (read cold), draughty hall where the show was held. There was plenty of space to set up when my freezing fingers and chattering teeth allowed me to - Mike had to drop me off at the rear entrance and leave, as there was absolutely nowhere to park and the traffic wardens in that area pinch you as soon as look at you. I was on my own and set up in a sort of frozen trance.
I asked one of the ladies who had finished setting her stall up to help me hang my banner, and I was ready. The organisers had brought in a huge tea urn and I must have visited it at least ten times during the day in an effort to keep warm which didn't really work, but it kept me moving. This of course meant going to the loo a number of times, but although there was no heating at all in the toilets, there was running hot water and a fabulous, warm hand drier! Is there a saying about warm hands and cold bottoms?? I can't remember, but if there is, this would be a perfect time to use it.
I don't think Caprilicious was the right fit for that show unfortunately, as people were mainly looking for little Christmas presents, and stalls with hand written cards, framed inspirational quotes, bunting, little pieces of jewellery and small ceramic items seemed to do better than the others. The publicity for the show wasn't that wonderful, and some of the vendors complained that there didn't seem to be too many signs outside, pointing people in our direction. However, to my surprise, a couple of people who had taken my card contacted me and even bought a few pieces a couple of days later. I took some pictures of the stalls that were colourful and attracted my eye.
This sculpture of the Green Man by Toin Adams stands in a cramped space in the Custard Factory in Birmingham. The site was once the home to Alfred Bird & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of the famed Bird’s Custard Powder, and is now an office/retail location. This post-industrial area of the city is an unlikely spot for a personification of nature and the life force. The phrase itself was coined in the 1930s to refer to heads or masks sprouting and disgorging vegetation which can be found in so many English churches. The living statue features fossils, a waterfall and live flames and will change its shape over the seasons as organic materials rot and the plants that cover it grow.
I hunted down these crystals for a friend - they came in a bag of five colours and I made simple necklaces with them - they shine most amazingly!
The Keeper of The Secret
Pendants in sterling silver arrived from Indonesia, and one of them was a mystical face carved in a piece of turquoise, set in a silver head dress with iolite earrings. The turquoise comes from the Sleeping Beauty mines in Arizona, and the face is serene and mysterious. I'd recently bought the moonstone nuggets, which are just as fascinating, with their inner fire and flashes of light emanating from deep within a pale, cool exterior. I thought they were fabulous, together with a scattering of turquoise, iolite, pearls and Bali silver beads.
I made suncatchers as presents for people at the hospital - I have about 15 - 18 presents to find for junior doctors, secretaries and others, and I thought these pretty crystals would look beautiful - one of the midwives bought four of them and started a roll, and I am now down to about half the original number left. They are very pretty though, and I can see why they would be attractive as presents.
Every year I offer to pack and post your gifts out if you wish to avail of this free service, and this applies to 2017 as well. I will even throw in a Christmas Card from you.
That's me for this week, folks. I am going to have a very relaxed weekend, doing very little after all the hard work I've put in over the last few weeks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you. Brrr, it's freezing cold outside and as you find this blog in your inboxes, I will be driving up to Birmingham, to the Etsy fair at the Custard Factory where I will be all day till 8pm. If you live nearby, do come and visit the stall. There are plenty of handmade offerings for Christmas and I will probably be doing a lot of my Christmas shopping there myself.
I'm told it will not be warm in the market hall - especially for us traders, so I've got my thermals and UGG boots on - as the sun sets and the temperature drops, I will probably bring out hats and scarves and mittens, until you might not even be able to tell it's me under all those layers. I hope the Michelin woman look won't put people off, but I'm afraid I shall have to value comfort more. Mike is going to drop me off, and then pick me up when I'm done, and we might even be able to sample some of the street food that will be available in and around the Custard Factory as it is the First Friday of the month. I shall have loads of pictures for you next week.
I make jewellery because I like to, becauses it relaxes me and is a stress buster and so much fun, not as preparation for a fair or show - so I always have stock in plenty and can probably do a show anytime I'm asked, without too much panic or anxiety. I haven't made many new items for the show, but I made this necklace with some of the beads that came with a large consignment containing the shiny crystals from last weeks post and a pendant I made earlier. The pendant is made from dark green, almost black jade, carved into a pair of fish. I put a wirework fish under the pendant and surrounded it with a frame - I originally strung it on leather, but re-thought the design and made a necklace with green turquoise pumpkin beads and coral - very Christmassy, but it will be great all year round too.
I love the turquoise pumpkins - they are so pretty. The second necklace I am going to show you, I've had for a while. I talked about the making of the clasp on this blog, I'm sure I did, and then I made the necklace and forgot to show it to anybody. The poor thing was sitting all forlorn and unloved in a corner of my jewellery case - and that would never do! So here we are, here's Blue Hibiscus!!
The blue hibiscus is not blue, it is a dark purple, and it isn't a hibiscus - it is a mallow. Nevertheless, it is pretty and well worth a second look. I have some in my garden and took some photographs earlier on in the year when it was in full bloom.
I made the clasp in bronze from a design by Barbara Becker Simon who is a top instructor in anything metal clay.
I do love the hibiscus flower - it seems so exotic to me now that I live in Britain. When I lived in India, we had bushes that grew in profusion in our backyard and flowered all year round, yielding offerings for my grand mother's prayers - she would place the hibiscus flowers reverentially at the feet of the idols of her favourite gods - the lesser ones got a couple of jasmine, and least favoured of them all probably got a leaf if she could spare one. As you probably know, Indians have a whole lot of Gods, one for every purpose, much like the ancient Greeks and each household has its deity - grandmas household deity got the largest share of the flowers and prayers, and all the others had to catch as catch can, and be happy with their lot. It's a wonder that there were any flowers left on any of the plants in the garden - perhaps this is why they grew so tall (not because of the sun and the climate, of course) to escape my grandma's pilfering. If she couldn't get at them, though, she would use the crook of grandpa's walking stick and do her best to pull them down - she didn't care about the plants missing their offspring, her Gods had to be propitiated, or else!
Enough reminiscing, I'd better get my a** into gear as this won't get the baby washed - I need to be in that car in about ten minutes time if I want to get into Birmingham and set up before the hordes ( Oh please, let there be hordes!) arrive.
I'll catch you next Friday, have a fabulous week in the meantime.
Hello everyone, how are you today. I've had a relaxed, quiet week without too many ups or downs, and am grateful for it. One of my customers sent me a package full of beads, broken necklaces and other bits and bobs, asking me to make whatever I could of them and throw the rest away. I love this sort of challenge and sat down one evening with a pair of snips, and put the beads together in piles of varying sizes before I could decide what to do with them.
There was a pile of small beads, and another of very large ones and I wracked my brain cells to come up with a solution. Of course, the challenge is to not waste a single bead so for the first necklace, I collected together all the tiny beads, crystals, amethyst chips and brightly coloured elements I could find and put them in a wirework necklace. The proceeds from this necklace will go to the neonatal unit at the hospital.
I think the necklace is particularly pretty - a riot of colour, with every single bead coming from the stash donated by the lovely D - thank you very much. My contribution is the non tarnish silver plated enamelled wire and the skin off my fingertips! All the little beads in the bead soup were used up in this necklace, and I am pleased with the result.
In the second pile of large beads, I found some silvery turban beads and turquoise nuggets. Put together with a faux amber donut pendant I made a few months ago and some red agate beads and there appeared a pretty necklace that I was proud to wear to work on a test drive.
Spindle whorls are African trade beads made predominantly in Mali. They were used worldwide for thousands of years, originally as tools in the cotton spinning industry to increase or maintain the speed of spin. In more recent years they have become much sought after as interesting beads and incorporated into the very fashionable genre of 'Tribal' jewellery.
The whorls were made from clay, amber, antler, bone, coral, glass, metal and wood. Local materials such as chalk, limestone, mudstone, and soapstone, have been used in those found in Mali and Guinea.
Used as weights for traditional cotton spinning, the whorls are fitted at the bottom of the spindle shafts, which are used as supported spindles to spin very fine threads. The bottom tip of the shaft rests in a small bowl placed in the weavers lap or on a table to one side.
I made facsimiles of the spindle whorls using polymer clay - a tutorial was featured in Bead and Jewellery Magazine earlier on in the year entitled 'Doodle Beads', referring to the doodles drawn on the polymer clay once it had been daubed generously with pastel chalk. I had some white ceramic beads that I bought on a trip to India and a couple of coral chunks which I put into a necklace. An Afghani coin decorates the handmade extension chain at the back. The coral appears aged and the necklace appears like an ancient artefact.I took it for a test run, and I got loads of compliments so I took a selfie at lunchtime while I was standing by the microwave waiting for my food to be heated.
This weekend, I shall start to pack my jewellery into a case ready to take to the IDEAS Etsy Craft Market at The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday the 1st of December. If any of you are around, do drop by.
The Custard Factory is where Bird's Custard Powder was first made - all the way till 1964 when production moved to Banbury.
The Custard Factory is the most powerful collection of creative and digital businesses, independent retailers and event venues outside London. Along with its sister project, Fazeley Studios, it forms the heart of Birmingham’s creative and digital district. Just over five minutes walk from the Bullring, it is home to over 500 businesses and hosts a regular calendar of fairs, festivals and gigs, as well as corporate and private events and weddings.
Digbeth comes alive on the first Friday of each month with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.
With different things to see and do each month anything could happen on a First Friday night out which runs from 6pm ‘til late. Maps are available online a few days before the event and at participating venues on the day. The Custard Factory venue will be open till 8pm on the Friday so it is bound to be a long, but hopefully a fun day meeting real people who like my jewellery, rather than the virtual reality of a www address.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello readers, nice to be able to chat to you again today. In a marked contrast to the last couple of weeks, I've had a couple of days off which made all the difference and gave me a bit of a respite from the usual grind.
When I can, I like to go down to London - it is only an hour and ten minutes away from me on a train and the tickets are relatively inexpensive these days if booked in advance.
I had to go down anyway for a meeting to do with work, and rounded off the day by meeting Nimmy Victor of Sanskara Designs. Nimmy mainly makes beaded necklaces with gemstones and silver elements in a beautiful ethnic Indian style and I have often admired her designs from afar. We've never had the occasion to meet, and I thought it was time to remedy this. We arranged to meet at Camden Town tube station and spent the afternoon together checking out the shops, eating street food, and finishing off with a drink at the bar in Gilgamesh. It was great to meet someone like minded and bounce ideas off each other. I took her a polymer clay pendant I made, and she brought me some gemstones. She also gave me a carnelian cabochon and a Pietersite tumblestone saying, 'I'd like you to make something for me with these two, please.' That was it - no instructions, no colour choices- no pressure then! Here are some pictures from our visit to Camden town.
As you can see Camden Market is quirky and colourful. It was a bit quiet, but that was because it was a Monday afternoon, I'm sure it gets really busy around the weekend. It was freezing too, and we downed loads of hot tea to keep ourselves warm. We felt really sorry for the poor traders - they were in unheated premises, and weren't allowed electric fires due to the risk of fire. I caught the 9pm train back from Euston tired, but happy.
I decided that I was going to set the carnelian cabochon in a bead and soutache pendant. The tumblestone of course, would have to be wire wrapped. It's a long time since I've been back to the basic wire wrap that I learned six years ago, using square and half round silver wire, but I was determined that I would succeed in wrapping an awkward shaped slippery stone, which was also rather pretty, so I'd need to allow most of it to stay on display, rather than cover up it's beauty with wire squiggles and curlicues.
I glued the carnelian to a piece of backing and beaded around it until it was firmly held in place by a bezel of beads. Many soutache pattern books attach braid directly around the glued down cabochon, but I've never trusted glue as a permanent attachment and feel that if I'm going to take the trouble to make an elaborate piece of jewellery, I'd like it to last a little longer than the unknown lifespan of the glue I've used.
Once that was done, I encircled the stone with soutache braids and made some pretty curlicues at the ends, filled with corals and pearls. More beads and even more braid followed until I decided that I ought to stop before the pendant became too unwieldy. There was more to do, I had to embellish the edges with a picot and cover the back with ultrasuede. I also had to devise a method to hang the pendant. Decisions, decisions!!
And then a minor mishap occurred, and I ran out of beading thread! I hadn't kept up with my supplies, or lack thereof, and had run out of thread in the middle of a project! There's nothing worse than having to stop when you've just had an idea how to do something that seems incredibly important and ephemeral. I went online and bought another reel immediately, and was surprised and pleasantly astonished when it arrived in the post the next morning.
Ta Dah!! The Reveal
And it was done - I put a bail on it using beads, backed it with ultrasuede and that was it - or was it? I kept looking at it, and the bail seemed so plain, there wasn't any oomph! to it. So I picked it up again and added two more beads and all of a sudden, I was satisfied. Phew! There wasn't any more space to add a single bead - although momentarily I considered adding more to the picot edge, or even another edging behind the picot. But no, I put my foot down with a firm hand and that was definitely that. Besides, I still had the Pietersite tumblestone to deal with, so I got busy looking for my stash of silver square wire and clearing the decks of beads and other detritus from the soutache pendant.
This one had to be really, really simple, in stark contrast with the previous piece - after all, this is Caprilicious Jewellery, and I cater to every mood and caprice including my own. I went back to basics and made a spartan setting for this stone. It is a lot harder to do than it looks, but very rewarding. The stone was too fat and odd shaped to do much else with it unless I used my new found skills to solder together a frame. This way is just as nice, in my opinion - what do you think? Will she like it?? The pietersite itself has a chatoyancy that only just shows up at the bottom right of the stone in the photographs and is very pretty.
Caprilicious will be at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday, the 1st of December - if you are in the area, do drop in - we are there till 8pm.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.